International Park(ing) Day hits Manchester’s Northern Quarter

We need more green space. It’s one of the things about this great city that is perhaps slightly lacking. Every time a building is knocked down or another spare plot becomes available, it seems to be transformed into yet another car park rather than a space for people to relax and enjoy.

To draw attention to this, Manchester Friends of the Earth are taking part in International Park(ing) Day by “transforming a city centre parking space to make it sociable, fun and colourful.”

Park(ing) Day on Thomas Street (photo by @bikefabulous)Setting up their picnic on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter, they welcome all visitors for a game of chess and maybe even afternoon tea. We’ll be popping down with our friends from Tweed Ride UK to say hello at about 4.30 pm so do come along. Here’s a map of where to find them.

<rant> It’s a real shame that there are just so many car parks in Manchester, yet drivers still struggle for space. It’s also bit embarrassing that major cultural happenings happen on car parks rather than nicer spaces – Chinese New Year on the car park in Chinatown. Manchester Pride on the car park in the village. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if we had proper city centre parks to host these on?

We don’t really know who makes these decisions, but whether it’s the property owner, Manchester City Council or CityCo (who recently got bike racks installed in Stevenson Square!), creating yet more car parking spaces can seem to be a priority over greening this beautiful urban village. We’re not anti-car, but sometimes you’ve gotta look around and think “enough is enough”. There’s plenty of car parking on the fringes of the city centre and maybe the opportunities right in the centre should be prioritised for those who really need it… </rant>

Parking PosterWhat do you think? Do we need to work towards a better balance between grey space and green space or are we getting it right in Manchester? Leave a comment below.

Manchester Blogmeet – September 2009, featuring Creative Tourist

Despite blogging on and off since 2001, I don’t think I have ever actually attended a proper “bloggers meetup”. Last night, I finally got the chance to rectify that by attending the Manchester Blogmeet, organised by the excellent Kate Feld of Manchizzle.

It was also my first time at Cord, a venue tucked away in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Heading down the slightly precarious steps to the Basement, I couldn’t help notice the gorgeous tiling that, at first glance, makes you think that you may have accidentally ended up in the toilets; but once the space and soft furnishings sink in, it really is a very cosy space. According to Frankie Roberto who asked the staff on a previous visit, the tiling is because it was formerly used to store fish!

The bar at the event was kindly sponsored by Creative Tourist, a new online magazine dedicated to promoting Manchester’s diverse cultural offer to tourists. In return for my gin and tonic, Susie aka Travels with My Baby said a few short words outlining what the site was about and how we could get involved.

As a ‘new’ Mancunian, the site’s a great place to read about what’s happening in the expansive cultural sphere right on my doorstep. I’m personally passionate about photography so the Photo story section is something I’ll be particularly keeping an eye on. I’ve already decided to go and catch the last weekend of Natalie Curtis at Urbis.

But beyond the (short and sweet) sponsored bit, it was a great opportunity to catch-up with friends and meet people from the blogging scene, including Richard ‘The Asparagus’ and RebeccaWho. I probably didn’t speak to as many people as I would have liked, and I’m hoping the proto-beard isn’t the reason for that! But also, having rushed from work, I was a bit worn out.

The event was really enjoyable and pleasantly relaxed – genuinely a chance to meet new people over a drink, with the shared background of blogging. I look forward to the next one – thanks again to Kate!